Waxcap Fungi in Historic Grassland and Lawns
These special grassland fungi are often associated with historic gardens and grounds such as churchyards and cemeteries as the waxcaps like nutrient-poor turf that has been regularly mown or grazed for a long time. The loss of other traditional grassland means historic gardens and sites are often now important surviving habitats for these fungi. For example, the early 18th century Salisbury Lawn at Chatsworth is of national importance for its array of waxcaps. There are 19 species recorded.
There are around 50 species of these colourful fungi, however they are often overlooked because they are small and may be hidden in the grass. Identification guides such as the online South West Peak one illustrate the diversity in colour and forms.
Understanding the vulnerability of waxcaps to climate change impacts is impeded by the under recording of sites. However, increased nitrogen deposition and waterlogging as a result of greater winter rainfalls are likely to be harmful, and changes in precipitation may affect the fungi.
Where there are waxcaps, continued traditional management will help conserve them. Grass clippings should be removed; and lawn feeds, fertilisers and moss killers should not be used.